Nowadays, there is so much confusion about how to lose weight in the most effective way. In this article, I will discuss 5 common weight loss myths and explain why not all of the common perceptions surrounding weight loss are correct.
1. If You Miss A Meal Your Body Will Go Into Starvation Mode
For thousands of years, humans have fasted. Muslims will fast during the holy month of Ramadan, Jews will fast throughout the judgement day of Yom Kippur and Christians during the 40 days of Lent and they function just fine.
However, in recent years we have decided to ignore thousands of years of history and state that fasting is not only bad for your health but will actually cause us to put on weight.
This common weight loss myth states that when we miss a meal or go without food for a prolonged period of time, the body will go into starvation mode. When we do eat again, our body decides to store whatever food it receives and tuck it away as body fat.
This couldn’t be further from the truth, actually, when we go without food our body realises that it is not receiving energy via the diet. So, the body is prepared for a situation like this, it accepts this fact and simply switches over to burning the energy that it has stored away as body fat. Hence we lose weight.
2. Meal Replacement Shakes Are A Healthy Way To Lose Weight
With the rise of companies such as Forever Living, Arbonne and Slimfast, meal replacement shakes are becoming an increasingly popular method of weight loss.
Meal replacement shakes are usually bottled products that are consumed instead of eating one of your main meals (breakfast, lunch or dinner), in an effort to reduce your calorie intake resulting in weight loss.
However, the average “healthy” meal replacement shake contains approximately 5 teaspoons of sugar. Now, instead of breakfast, would you drink a cup of tea with 5 teaspoons of sugar in it and still deem it healthy…?
There are 3 main issues with meal replacement shakes:
The 1st is the sugar content. When we take on a high amount of sugar this stimulates insulin, the fat storing hormone. So when the “slimming programme” is over, because insulin has been consistently stimulated over a long-term basis, the body is in storage mode. Thus, when the individual starts to eat whole meals again, these meals are more likely to be stored as fat.
The 2nd issue is that when you lose weight using meal replacement shakes, you’re not actually changing anything in the diet. So the minute that your weight has been lost, 9 times out of 10 you will revert back to eating how you were before, because the original issue in the diet hasn’t been recognised and nothing has changed. Therefore, returning back to old original habits brings about the same result as before, weight gain.
Finally, these meal replacement shakes are crazy expensive! For example, the Forever Living Clean 9 costs in excess of £100 for 9 days worth of shakes! I know I would rather spend £100 on a nice trip to Selfridges and eat tasty enjoyable food as opposed to drinking “healthy” sugar water.
3. Weight Loss Is All About Calories…
If you have ever been on a diet, I have no doubt that you will have heard of the dreaded calorie.
“Don’t eat that, it’s high in calories”
“Oh I burnt 500 calories today”
But has anyone ever explained to you what a calorie actually is…?
One of the main problems with popular diets, the majority are centred around calories and making sure that you consume as little calories as possible.
There are multiple issues with this weight loss model. Two of the main issues are that if anyone has ever gone on a low calorie diet, they will know that you are SO HUNGRY all of the time and eating bowls of pasta and pot’s of low calorie yoghurt really is not an enjoyable way of eating.
Another common problem is that low calorie food means low fat food, which means the majority of your meals are centred around carbohydrates. For more information on why you shouldn’t cut fat out of the diet, and limit carbohydrates click here.
One thing to note is that not all calories are the same, 100kcal of lettuce and 100kcal of chocolate may have the same calorie content, but they have completely different effects on the body when eaten.
You don’t want to (or need to) spend the rest of your life, weighing your food counting calories. It is not an effective weight loss strategy. Weight loss should not be difficult and centred around foods that taste like cardboard. Get excited about your food, enjoy the weight loss process and sod the calories.
4. You Have To Exercise To Lose Weight
Normally, when an individual decides to lose weight, their first port of call is the treadmill, but is this beneficial?
This is not the case. Cardiovascular exercise has multiple health benefits, but as an effective fat loss strategy it’s not the best of tools.
Weight loss can certainly be achieved through diet alone.
5. Breakfast Is The Most Important Meal Of The Day
This is probably the most common weight loss myth that I come across. The notion that we must have breakfast in the morning to speed up our metabolism. If we skip breakfast we will have no energy throughout the day and our body will go into starvation mode (see point 1).
Let’s just start by looking at the word “Breakfast” it means breaking your fast. It doesn’t say “You must break your fast as soon as you wake up”. Your body has gone in excess of 12 hours without food, going another 2-3 hours without food certainly won’t do it any harm.
Again, as I stated earlier, when we go for a period of time without food, we actually allow our body to burn the food energy that it has stored as body fat.
A common phrase I hear is “I don’t eat enough”. Now if we actually look at that sentence, why would eating MORE food mean that you would lose weight? It doesn’t really make sense.